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The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies Provides a comprehensive survey of Biblical scholarship in a variety of disciplines.

Wisdom of Solomon

The attribution to Solomon is based on an inference from the content of chapters 7–9, where a royal first person narrator describes his appeal to God for wisdom. However, the original language of the book is clearly Greek, because of the level of its style and vocabulary. In genre it has some similarities with Ben Sira, but it is much less practical in bent, and the hypostasization of Wisdom goes much further. The book is a kind of meditation on the history of God's people and the role that Wisdom has played in it, but one has to know the biblical account well in order to pick up the allusions. That such Wisdom could be, and frequently was, identified with the Holy Spirit or the Logos, explains the book's popularity with Christian writers in antiquity, even though some expressed doubts concerning its Solomonic authorship (McGlynn 2001: 237–43).

Sections from the consolatory passage on the sufferings of the righteous at the hands of the wicked, their eventual glorious vindication, and the confounding of the ungodly (2: 12–5: 23) appear often in lectionaries for feasts commemorating the saints and martyrs. These chapters strongly suggest a belief in a final judgement and immortality (see especially 5: 15–16), which tend to be indicators of a late date. Some of the words used also indicate a date of composition during the Roman period, i.e. from the latter half of the first century BCE. It is usually assumed that the book was written in Alexandria during a period of persecution of the large Jewish community there, reflected in its treatment of the exodus story, and it may even reflect the ethnic riot of 38 CE (Cheon 1997). Wisd. 12: 24–13: 19 is a diatribe against idolatry (cf. Let Jer) and the worship of animals as gods, which would also support an Egyptian context. Part of the same passage also suggests the thought of Rom. 1: 18–25: the influence of the book of Wisdom on Paul has often been noted.

However, with the rise of the rabbinic movement, in which Scripture had to be in Hebrew, and perhaps to a lesser extent because of the popularity of the Wisdom of Solomon in the Church, the book fell into disuse in later Judaism.

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